Humba with pineapple, tausi, and dried banana blossoms is a delicious medley of sweet and savory flavors you’ll love with steamed rice! This Visayan version of adobo is easy to make and sure to be a family favorite.
When I told my mom in 2016 that I quit my job to blog full time, the first thing she said after a long silence was, “Paano pag nawalan ka na nang iluluto?” What if you run out of things to cook?
She sounded so worried about my decision that I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. Her question was just funny and endearing and preposterous at the same time.
The Filipino cuisine is so rich and steeped in history and various regional flavors, I don’t think running out of food to blog about would be a problem. Case in point this humba. The preparation and cooking procedure is similar to our pineapple pork adobo recipe, yet throw in a few additional ingredients such as fermented black beans and banana blossoms, and you have a brand new dish to explore!
What is Humba
Humba (homba), which literally translates to tender (hum) pork (ba), is a Visayan braised pork dish similar to the classic adobo.
In this sweeter and fattier regional version, pork belly is slow-cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar or pineapple juice, and aromatics such as garlic, onions, peppercorns, and bay leaves. When the meat is fall-apart tender, palm sugar, pineapple, fermented black beans, and dried banana blossoms are added for extra depth of flavor and texture.
While you can combine everything together in one step, take the extra effort of browning the pork belly. Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat. which enriches the dish with more complex flavors.
The liquid in the can of pineapples is what you’ll use to braise the meat so make sure the fruit is packed in juice and not heavy syrup.
Rinse the tausi and drain well as they’re usually packed in a salty brine.
Do not marinate the meat for more than 8 hours as the acidity of the vinegar and pineapple juice will break down the meat’s protein fibers, altering the texture.
Cook low and slow to allow the fat to render and the tough, connective tissues to soften to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.
Although vinegar is the traditional braising liquid for humba, I like to add pineapple juice for a touch of sweet, fruity taste.
Use brown sugar and not white to sweeten the dish. It has a slightly less concentrated sweetness and contains molasses which enhance the rich flavor of the sauce. You can also use palm sugar, if available.
How to serve
Humba bisaya is usually served as the main entree for lunch and dinner, with piping-hot steamed rice as the perfect canvas for its sweet and savory meat and sauce.
It’s a great make-ahead dish you can prep in advance. Store in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes to an internal temperature of 165 F or in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until completely warmed through.